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Anthony Perkins

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Here is an actor who really left us a valuable body of work.

 

His youth, beauty and charm combined to present us with a unique screen presence.

 

And, as he aged, he was still a singular screen presence.

 

In "Psycho III", as in "Psycho" itself, his performance is totally "individual".

 

On stage, for example, in "Equus", he could be quite effective.

 

Because of all his personal problems, he probably never saw himself as "a unique property".

 

Problems have a way of overwhelming us.

 

But, truly, his work has stood the test of time.

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It's too bad Psycho pigeonholed him in films. Although he wasnt typical leading man material, his career never really went anywhere. (Yet, no Oscar nomination for Psycho!)

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He often worked in French cinema, for example, for Claude Chabrol, "Ten Days' Wonder" and "The Champagne Murders".

 

He was very fluent in French.

 

Anatole Litvak used him very effectively - by going against the grain of the material - in "Goodbye Again" and "Five Miles To Midnight".

 

In "Goodbye Again", Ingrid Bergman almost chose him over Yves Montand.

 

And, in "Five Miles to Midnight", he was less the typical villain than an albratross around his wife's neck.

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Check him out with Tuesday Weld in PRETTY POISON near the end of the month.

 

 

Yes, I've seen that.........

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Check him out with Tuesday Weld in PRETTY POISON near the end of the month.

"Pretty Poison" has a terrfic performance from him - and Tuesday Weld.

 

It is also one of his best films - and hers.

 

He was great, absolutely great, at playing off-center personalities.

 

When he realizes that he has bitten off more than he can chew, he also realizes that there is no going back.

 

Incredibly, neither he nor Weld got Oscar nominations.

 

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Yes, I know. He worked a lot overseas in the 60s.........

 

Related to Psycho,  did Perkins decide to make films 'overseas' because American producers and studio heads weren't willing to cast him in roles that were not 'Psycho like' or did he go overseas because that is where he wanted to be,  making those type of films?    (e.g. as a gay man he felt more in his element in Europe than the USA????).

 

In addition the studio-era was winding down in the 60s and this impacted the careers of all actors.  

 

Yea,  his post Psycho career was 'all over the place' but I'm not sure how much Psycho-type-casting by American producers was the reason.

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Related to Psycho,  did Perkins decide to make films 'overseas' because American producers and studio heads weren't willing to cast him in roles that were not 'Psycho like' or did he go overseas because that is where he wanted to be,  making those type of films?    (e.g. as a gay man he felt more in his element in Europe than the USA????).

 

In addition the studio-era was winding down in the 60s and this impacted the careers of all actors.  

 

Yea,  his post Psycho career was 'all over the place' but I'm not sure how much Psycho-type-casting by American producers was the reason.

Interesting question, James, Perkins felt that he was more appreciated - as an actor and a star - in Europe, especially France.

 

So, since he was fluent in French, working with French directors was an easy fit for him.

 

He felt threatened by an actor like James Dean, who "bled" all over the screen.

 

Yet, Perkins could realize "off" personlities very well.

 

He just wasn't "showy'" about it.

 

There's a great line in "Goodbye, Again" from Yves Montand to Ingrid Bergman about Perkins - "Get rid of that boy, he bothers you."

 

But it wasn't easy to get rid of Perkins.

 

His youth, beauty and charm were a lethal combo.

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Interesting question, James, Perkins felt that he was more appreciated - as an actor and a star - in Europe, especially France.

 

So, since he was fluent in French, working with French directors was an easy fit for him.

 

He felt threatened by an actor like James Dean, who "bled" all over the screen.

 

Yet, Perkins could realize "off" personlities very well.

 

He just wasn't "showy'" about it.

 

There's a great line in "Goodbye, Again" from Yves Montand to Ingrid Bergman about Perkins - "Get rid of that boy, he bothers you."

 

But it wasn't easy to get rid of Perkins.

 

His youth, beauty and charm were a lethal combo.

 

Interesting comparison to Dean.    I'm not a fan of Dean since I find him to be too obvious,  but I'm a big fan of Perkins.    E.g. Take Fear Strikes Out;   Yea,  Perkins' character is suffering from mental issues and the scenes with his father,  Karl Malden,  are very emotional but to me Perkins gives a very balanced performance.   An actor like Dean would have been mostly one-note. 

 

Related to France and Europe;  A lot of first rate black jazz musicians moved to Europe because they were more accepted there than in the USA.   These guys didn't even speak French!   So yea,  Perkins being fluent in French,  would make him feel he was in his element in this so called foreign land. 

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Interesting comparison to Dean.    I'm not a fan of Dean since I find him to be too obvious,  but I'm a big fan of Perkins.    E.g. Take Fear Strikes Out;   Yea,  Perkins' character is suffering from mental issues and the scenes with his father,  Karl Malden,  are very emotional but to me Perkins gives a very balanced performance.   An actor like Dean would have been mostly one-note. 

 

Related to France and Europe;  A lot of first rate black jazz musicians moved to Europe because they were more accepted there than in the USA.   These guys didn't even speak French!   So yea,  Perkins being fluent in French,  would make him feel he was in his element in this so called foreign land. 

Interesting comment about black musicians and Europe and France, James.

 

Interestingly, the movie version of "Fear Strikes Out" caused the break-up of Perkins' love affair with Tab Hunter.

 

Hunter had starred in the TV film and wanted to make the movie.

 

Perkins went after it - secretly - and got it.

 

Hunter suddenly realized that Perkins was far more ambitious than he had suspected.

 

But, I agree, Perkins gives a fine performance in the film.

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Tony Perkins was intense and I mean that in a good way.  James Dean was intense but obvious like James said and Dean could be "over the top.".  Tony was more subtle.  Partly it's in his dark eyes.

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Tony Perkins was intense and I mean that in a good way.  James Dean was intense but obvious like James said and Dean could be "over the top.".  Tony was more subtle.  Partly it's in his dark eyes.

I have watched some of James Dean's early work on television.

 

He was much different on television.  He was a talented actor who was far from "showy".

 

On film, he was overwrought and self-important.

 

Who do we blame for the transformation?

 

Was it Elia Kazan?

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I have watched some of James Dean's early work on television.

 

He was much different on television.  He was a talented actor who was far from "showy".

 

On film, he was overwrought and self-important.

 

Who do we blame for the transformation?

 

Was it Elia Kazan?

 

Maybe it was too much of the "method".  Kazan directed only one Dean film. I, too, saw one of those TV dramas with Dean but I don't remember which one.  Didn't TCM run those a couple of years ago?  Maybe the TV director told Dean to take it down a notch for the small screen. 

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Here is an actor who really left us a valuable body of work.

 

His youth, beauty and charm combined to present us with a unique screen presence.

 

And, as he aged, he was still a singular screen presence.

 

But, truly, his work has stood the test of time.

 

Very much agree. He was a special actor who went deep. 

 

And when it came to acting nervous, I don't think there's ever been anyone better. Amazingly convincing. Just watch his performance in 'WUSA' for a perfect example of how genuine that quality comes across.

 

One thing that's rarely mentioned about Perkins is that he was almost a pop star in addition to being a gifted actor in the late 50's. He cut a couple of 45's that charted. He appeared in several teen fan mags with titles like "Girls Have Switched from James Dean to Tony Perkins".

 

His starring in 'Psycho' was one of the most genius castings of all time. 

 

And 'Pretty Poison' is an absolute classic. Another case of being perfectly cast in spite of being theoretically too old for the part.

 

His ability to stay thin and youthful served him beautifully in extending his remarkable run of films. His small role in 'Catch 22' is delightful in its adorable youthfulness. And yet his penetrating eyes could transmit a depth of seriousness that could reach the viewer whenever it was required. 

 

One time on 'David Letterman', Letterman asked him if he still could scare people with "the look", and Perkins did promptly scare Letterman with it.

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Interestingly, the movie version of "Fear Strikes Out" caused the break-up of Perkins' love affair with Tab Hunter.

 

Hunter had starred in the TV film and wanted to make the movie.

 

Perkins went after it - secretly - and got it.

 

Hunter suddenly realized that Perkins was far more ambitious than he had suspected.

 

But, I agree, Perkins gives a fine performance in the film.

I did not know there was a TV version of Fear Strikes Out. I'm gonna have to check it out sometime.

 

I looked up Jimmy Piersall on Google, and Tony looks the part, so I can see why he got it. Tony can also pull it off better. Tab, on the other hand, is a very bland actor, and I mainly know him as Tony's ex.

 

Did you know Tony and Tab both auditioned for the role of Tony in West Side Story? They were both passed over in favor of Richard Beymer.

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Yes, he did have a recording career - all of his solo records have been recorded on one lengthy CD collection.

 

The two most prominent ones have been "Moonlight Swim" and "First Romance".

 

He also starred in Stephen Sondheim's first musical offering on TV, which was titled "Evening Primrose" and which had him singing alongside Chariman Carr.

 

He also starred in Frank Loesser's Broadway musical, "Greenwillow".  The musical, which is full of attractive tunes, is still available on a CD.

 

He also made three solo albums - "Tony Perkins", "On A Rainy Afternoon" and "From My Heart". 

 

He made singing appearances on six of Ben Bagley's Broadway song collections.

 

Believe it or not, he also played the piano.

 

He can be heard at the piano in the Ken Russell thriller, "Crimes of Passion", that he made with Kathleen Turner.

 

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I did not know there was a TV version of Fear Strikes Out. I'm gonna have to check it out sometime.

 

I looked up Jimmy Piersall on Google, and Tony looks the part, so I can see why he got it. Tony can also pull it off better. Tab, on the other hand, is a very bland actor, and I mainly know him as Tony's ex.

 

Did you know Tony and Tab both auditioned for the role of Tony in West Side Story? They were both passed over in favor of Richard Beymer.

No, I did not know that Tab Hunter and Tony Perkins both auditioned for "West Side Story".  So, then, both of them were rejected, and, strangely, both of them could sing.  Richard Beymer could not sing and had to be dubbed.  Jimmy Bryant was the man who sang for Richard Beymer.

 

Jimmy Bryant -

 

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Perkins was capable in a wide range of genres and character types.  From TIN STAR, through films like DESIRE UNDER THE ELMS, THE TRIAL and MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS it was clear that any typecasting of him was a waste of true talent.

 

And I thought his portrayal of Javert in a TV production of LES MISERABLES was top-notch!  The best Javert to date IMHO.

 

 

Sepiatone

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I always find it interesting nobody mentions the fact his father was a film actor too. Osgood Perkins was in a bunch of precodes and other films later in the 1930s. 

 

He died at age 45 when Tony was five and a half.

 

Tony's oldest son Oz Perkins is named after him.

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I always find it interesting nobody mentions the fact his father was a film actor too. Osgood Perkins was in a bunch of precodes and other films later in the 1930s. 

 

He died at age 45 when Tony was five and a half.

 

Tony's oldest son Oz Perkins is named after him.

Because nobody really knows the work of Osgood Perkins.

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No, I did not know that Tab Hunter and Tony Perkins both auditioned for "West Side Story".  So, then, both of them were rejected, and, strangely, both of them could sing.  Richard Beymer could not sing and had to be dubbed.  Jimmy Bryant was the man who sang for Richard Beymer.

 

Jimmy Bryant -

 

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I knew Richard Beymer was dubbed, but I didn't know Jimmy Bryant dubbed him. I looked him up, and he is apparently best known for dubbing Beymer.

 

I read Tab Hunter was rejected because he was too old. (He was around 30 at the time.) Tony was seriously considered because he wanted to play a character that was not like Norman Bates. Russ Tamblyn (who eventually got the part of Riff), Warren Beatty (who was dating Natalie Wood and was a friend of Tab's at the time), Burt Reynolds, Bobby Darin, and Troy Donahue also auditioned for the role. Needless to say, West Side Story would've been very different if Tony, Tab, or one of the other actors I listed above, played the role.

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